The future starts now, and the joy of the Lord is your strength

[an Easter account, from the archives.]

I’m at a baby shower and there are gifts of prayer and pink things. A friend of the mom-to-be says of motherhood:

Remember to keep it light. Because the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8)

I’m struck all over by the power of it – it gets stuck on repeat –

The joy of the Lord is my strength.

I start translating it into weak / overwhelmed / threatened / disappointed me. Rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 4). Because to rejoice is to be made strong.

Easter Week starts with a new parenting decision:

Each Kid and Each Grownup Will Work on One Thing for One Week.

Because working on Lots of Things All the Time makes life heavy with impossible expectations.

We want to disciple more than discipline – because a discipled life is a disciplined life.

So we’re Each One working on a different One Thing. All the usual rules apply. But there’s relief and simplicity because One Thing for One Week is doable and lightens the load.

And the joy of the Lord is our strength.

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Good Friday dawns wistful – autumnal – and there’s the gravity of the cross – the grave filled. A heaviness. Scott announces in the hush of church, ‘Jesus died on the cross!’ Yes, we nod and grin and shush him. Yes, Jesus carried the heaviness so condemnation didn’t sit heavy on us. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross (Hebrews 12).

The joy of the Lord was His strength.

Friday night we drop the boys at my sister. Date night is Kung-Fu Kitchen spring rolls on the couch and watching Gravity. Sandra Bullock intermittently floats and panics through space. I think of the paradox that defying gravity in outer space is a pinnacle of human endeavour and the thing that most makes me feel our smallness.

And another paradox: the gravity of the cross weights my life in truth – pulls it down solid into significance. And the gravity of the cross is my lightness of being – the levity of life. The heaviness – the severity – of the sacrifice means that we can strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up (Hebrews 12). Heavy truth. Weightless grace. I dare not un-tether myself from either. (Tweet that.)

And the joy of the Lord is my strength.

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Easter Saturday we amble in bright sun through a food market to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34). Then through a nature reserve. We throw stones in the river. Wash the car.

Day slips light into dusk and the joy of the Lord is my strength.

Easter Sunday we celebrate the risen Saviour who defied gravity and the grave. He’s risen indeed and so are we. Early. Because we’ve got Easter eggs and happiness to hide. I jot it all down in my thanks journal because counting gifts is my daily joy –

And the joy of the Lord is my strength.

The eastern sky lights up Monday. Without Easter this would be just another trudge in a long line of trudgings to death.

But because of Easter today is the first day of the rest of my life.

And the joy of the Lord is my strength.

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. . .

I hope you’re having a fantastic Easter weekend. Thanks for reading here today. You’re welcome to share this post, leave a comment, or get in touch here, on Twitter, or on our Facebook community page.

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